Development of a computational method for determining gamma energy escape from calorimeters at CLAB

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Tillämpad kärnfysik

Abstract: Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company- SKB has conducted measurement campaigns at the Swedish central interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel- CLAB over the years, extending from year 2003 to 2019 where the gamma energy escape was acquired. At CLAB the spent nuclear fuel assembly is inserted into the calorimeter; device intended to measure temperature increase due to decay heat from the fuel assembly. The calorimetric construction is surrounded by water the medium in which the temperature deviations occur and thus are also measured by the calorimeter. However, there is some leakage of gamma energy from the calorimetric construction and does not contribute to the heating of the water. Therefore, only considering the calorimetric measurements is not enough to estimate the total decay heat in the fuel assembly since these measurements fail to account for the gamma escape. Measurements of gamma energy escape acquired over the years at CLAB were observed to have some tendencies that where questionable, mainly some stochastic behavior indicating that their uncertainty was profound. In the scope of the thesis a computational method was developed to calculate the gamma energy escape and thus assist in determining which measurements to discard. Combination of two programs were used one being Spent Nuclear fuel- SNF and the second Monte Carlo N particle Simulator- MCNP, to obtain the computational gamma energy escape for different fuel assemblies and cooling times- CTs. It was established that the escape had a range between 1-3,5% and that it had a dependency on CT, fuel assembly type and operational history. Calculated radial exponential decay coefficient for fuel assemblies of the medium; water had also a clear dependency on CT where values of the coefficient increased over CT. Normalized gamma energy distribution over a rotation around the fuel assembly was calculated and it showed that the assembly tended to have the highest radiation coming from its corner rods. The verification of the computational gamma escape results with corresponding measurements yielded that the agreement was quite good for the earlier measurement campaigns. However, deviation became evident after the 2007 campaign where the calculated values were underestimated compared to the measured.

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